East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society

November 15, Wen Xie, “The Making of the Chinese Rustbelt: Work, Welfare and Industrial Transformation in Northeast China, 1949-2015”


East Asia Workshop: Politics, Economy and Society presents 


The Making of the Chinese Rustbelt: Work, Welfare and Industrial Transformation in Northeast China, 1949-2015”

Wen Xie

PhD Student, Department of Sociology

University of Chicago

4:30-6:00p.m., Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Pick Lounge, 5828 South University Ave.

*Light refreshments will be served*


My ongoing dissertation project examines the entanglement of historical legacies, human lives, and global/national politico-economic transformations in northeast China, the once socialist heavy industrial heartland that is now the epitome of the Chinese “rustbelt.” Existing literature focuses either on characteristics of social protests or the economic development outcome. Bridging the economic and political dimensions of the transformation, my approach centers on generational experiences as a nexus between the country’s socialist past and capitalist/neoliberal present to illuminate the complexities of how historical legacies have interacted with globalization, shifting national policy priorities and local institutions, and channeled into the present market economy and non-socialist welfare system. I place the life experience of a generation spanning Mao’s era (1949-1976), market reform (1977-1992), and the country’s neoliberal turn (1992-2015), the center of this industrial heartland’s transformation. This project draws on ethnographic observations, interviews and archival data from multiple places in the region. At the workshop, I will present my overarching theoretical framework, research design and preliminary empirical findings.

About the speaker:

Wen Xie is a 5th year PhD student in sociology. She is broadly interested in economic sociology, comparative historical sociology, regional political economy, and labor issues. A central interest driving her past and ongoing projects is politico-economic transformations and social consequences in China since 1949.

* To see the full Autumn 2016 schedule: Autumn 2016 Schedule

* Questions and concerns can be addressed to the student coordinator Yinxian Zhang (zyxzhang@uchicago.edu)

Faculty sponsors:

Xi Song (Sociology), Dali Yang (Political Science), and Dingxin Zhao (Sociology)

The East Asia Workshop is sponsored by the Council on Advanced Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences. Persons with disabilities who believe they may need assistance please contact the student coordinator in advance.


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